VETERAN Castleford Tigers prop Craig Huby has backed his side to achieve something special this season after he heralded the team spirit coursing through the club.
Having made his debut in 2003, the powerful front-row has witnessed almost everything there is to see at Wheldon Road, including twice being relegated.
However, as Castleford prepare for their campaign opener at Bradford on Sunday, Huby feels they are on the cusp of something entirely different.
“There’s a really good mood around the place,” he said, with Daryl Powell having drastically re-shaped his squad for 2014.
“I said to someone the other day that this is probably one of the best team environments I’ve seen while I’ve been here and I think we’re looking to do some special stuff this year. I know a lot of people are writing us off but that’s just spurring us on more.
“We know what ability we’ve got in this squad and we’re pretty confident.”
Castleford finished 12th last season and have only reached the play-offs once in 11 campaigns.
But there has been some talk about them being an outside bet for the top-eight this term and Huby concurs.
“We’ve not really thought about that much but we know ourselves if we get the right stuff happening on the field and stick to the game-plan Powelly has given us then, hopefully, that will happen this season,” he said.
“Over the last couple of years, we have been up and down and sort of only doing it now and again. But we need consistency and, I think, the fact the fans really get behind us here means it’s about time we really gave something back to them and a winning team to cheer about. Hopefully, this year is that time.”
They have, of course, lost talisman Rangi Chase to Salford Red Devils but there is a belief that Castleford will be a more rounded attacking force this season actually without the maverick England half-back.
Huby, 27, admitted: “Powelly has brought in some wise people. He’s brought Luke Dorn back while Liam Finn’s been outstanding since he came in (from Featherstone) and so life does go on.
“I think we could potentially do bigger and better things and it’s important we start well at Bradford on Sunday.”